An Apprenticeship in Arms: The Origins of the British Army 1585-1702

By Roger B. Manning | Go to book overview
Save to active project

12
The decay of the militia

The Romans, who understood the art of war beyond all the world, did not
make soldiery a refuge of poverty and idleness; for none but men of fortune
and property, whose private interest firmly engaged them to the public good,
had the honour of serving in their armies.

[John Toland], The Militia Reformed: Or an Easy Scheme of Furnishing
England with a Constant Land Force
(1698), 19.

As to the militia, I suppose every man is now satisfied that we must never
expect to see it made useful till we have disbanded the army.

[John Trenchard], A Short History of Standing Armies in
England
(1698), 40.

Our security is the militia; that will defend us and never conquer us.

Sir Henry Capel, speaking to the House of Commons, 1673, in Anchitell
Grey (comp.), Debates of the House of Commons, from the year 1667 to the
Year 1694
, 10 vols. (1769), i. 218.

Many landowners and political leaders of the Three Kingdoms opposed standing armies, although they did pay lip service to the exercise of arms and advocated or participated in the militia. These beliefs and prejudices were acquired from reading Machiavelli or his disciples, such as James Harrington and Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun. Machiavelli was the chief source of the civic tradition and the concept of a citizen militia. Only in the British Isles did politically articulate people still seriously view a citizen militia as an alternative to a standing army in the latter part of the seventeenth century. The experiences of the civil wars had confirmed their hatred and mistrust of standing armies as instruments of absolutism and tyranny. Yet it could not be denied that the county militias of England were in decline as effective military forces for the defence of the realm, while the militias of Ireland and Scotland were only sporadically activated and lacked continuity. James VII and II denigrated the militia of England for being ineffective and disloyal. Those who feared standing armies, especially when commanded by Catholic monarchs, assumed that the militia could never flourish until the army was disbanded. They assumed that a militia would be more loyal, because an

-290-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
An Apprenticeship in Arms: The Origins of the British Army 1585-1702
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 467

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?